Sunday, December 31, 2006

Our Living Hope

Praise to God for a Living Hope

3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

Even during times of trial, temptation, or suffering, we know that God alone is faithful. As pastor B says, 'He is sovereign, and we can trust Him.' He is with us and He is FOR us. Jesus asks/ rebukes His disciples: "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:22-25). Their concept of God, just like mine, is sometimes too small for the circumstance. The disciples repond: "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Yes, the creator of the universe is pleased somehow in His great mercy and grace to come to us and act on our behalf, while we are but powerless to save ourselves from sin and circumstance alike.

When the disciples called out: "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" their despair and lacking in faith was evident on one hand, and so was a very tiny mustard seed of faith as well. They cried out to Jesus. Though they displayed a very limited and constrained faith in Christ, He received them. "Such is the gracious Lord that you and I believe in and follow. Though He is disappointed in us often and though He rebukes us, He will never neglect us; He will receive us, He will bless us, He will give us peace, indeed." (D Martyn Lloyd-Jones p.147) Even during the stormy trials and tests of faith. "With this peace He gave them a still greater concept of Himself than they had had before."

The trial increases our faith, in that the next position of trial, trouble or testing should result in a fuller manifestation of faith and "bringing glory to His great and Holy name." But we also see, with the disciples, that if we be apparently too weak to even do this much to apply our faith, besieged and attacked by the devil and the world, we know we can run to Him and cry out -- "Master, Master! We are going to drown (perish)!" Because we know that He alone is faithful and full of grace and mercy. All praise, honor, and glory belong to God - the author and finisher of our faith. Amen.

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